Ryan Phillips is cycling the globe for mental health awareness. (Submitted Photo)

Okanagan man biking across Canada for mental health awareness

“I figured I’d turn the ride into something meaningful”

Ryan Phillips, a former Vernon Vipers player, describes his decision to bike around the world in pursuit of mental health awareness, as serendipitous.

In the past, he’s also used two wheels to help raise money for a foundation that wants to rid the world of human trafficking and sex slavery.

He was in South East Asia when he met an Italian cyclist who inspired him to buy a bike and start, what he hopes, will turn into a world tour. Recently finishing his first leg of the trip in Asia where he completed Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, he decided to come home and ride across Canada.

“I sort of started on a whim and soon, we were crossing four different countries in a month and doing, you know, close to 5,000 kilometers and next thing I know, people are reaching out, so I figured I’d turn the ride into something meaningful,” he said.

He speaks from experience having suffered from bipolar disorder. His daughter also suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Phillips said his daughter is a huge source of inspiration for the bike trip.

“I’ve suffered, and I’ve seen it not just in my family, but with many people in my life. It’s clear just how mental health is affecting their lives, so I decided that I’d like to give back. This made sense.”

Now he said he’s backed by CMHA and having returned to Canada, Phillips began his ride at Mile Zero — the Terry Fox memorial — in Victoria on June 1. He said he predicts he will be riding through Vernon within the next couple of days.

View this post on Instagram

A true hero! Terry Fox was so humble. He did what he believed in..and the impact has been felt globally. Mile zero is where I started my bicycle journey across Canada. I’m well into the ride now. Im riding with the intention to impact as many people as possible that suffer from mental health. I believe, I have faith and I’m 100% all in! #mentalhealthawareness #outdoorlife #bikepacking #biketouring #outdooradventurephotos #cyclingshots #bikecamping #worldbike #solotravel #biketour #outdoors #neverstopexploring #biketravel #adventurecycling #viaggiare #aroundtheworld #picsoftheday #nomad #cleanenergy #trip #cycle #cycling #cyclinglife #ontheroad #passion #bikelife #bikelove #nopollution #savetheplanet #worldbycycling 🎥@worldtrippin

A post shared by Ryan Phillips (@ryanphillipswarrior) on

Under the title, Spin the Globe, he said he hopes to raise $100,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association, getting his daughter the help she needs and supporting others who are experiencing similar situations.

“Obviously, it is to touch some hearts along the way, inspire people to get talking,” he said.

With the goal of spreading awareness worldwide, he is relying on his GoFundMe page. Those who wish to donate, may do so by visiting gofundme.com/spin-the-globe.

Related: Former Viper pursues a life journey

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